Share this site! The Safe Patient Project is a Consumers Union campaign focused on eliminating medical harm, improving FDA oversight of prescription drugs and promoting disclosure laws that give information to consumers about health care safety and quality.

Warranty should cover total replacement

Knee-Small custom

If an implant is expected to last a certain amount of years, a warranty should cover total replacement if it fails, according to Kristina of Naperville, IL, who is facing revision surgery for her right knee implant. Kristina told Consumers Union: “I don’t think the warranty should be voided or hold a clause that states normal wear and tear don’t count,” she said. “The purpose is that normal wear and tear should hold up for as long as it states.”

Kristina suffered from severe osteoarthritis and underwent a knee replacement on her left knee in 2007 at the age of 47. Three years later, she had another surgery to replace her right knee. While the left knee has worked fine, Kristina has experienced significant problems with her right knee since her surgery.

Just six months following the procedure, she started to experience clicking and popping of the implant and then later grinding similar to what she dealt with prior to surgery when bone was rubbing against bone. Since her knee replacement, Kristina has developed synovitis in her right knee, which is now torqued in the wrong direction. As a result she is unable to walk straight and has limited range of motion in the knee.

Kristina is currently on disability and is unable to work. She has difficulty getting up from a chair, climbing stairs, and driving, and uses a rollator walker when walking. Even sleeping can be uncomfortable for her and she is on pain medication to help manage her pain.

Kristina’s doctor told her that the device was installed properly but that it sometimes twists after it is implanted as is the case with her device. She was told that she would need to either live with the pain or have the device removed and undergo a second knee replacement for her right knee. She has decided to do so and will undergo surgery in late September 2013.